Running unopposed, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was re-elected chairman of the ruling ANO party, which he founded seven years ago. The election result was announced on February 17 at the party’s congress.
“I’d like to say once again that we are in fact a movement for everyone,” he told party members. “This is not a new pronouncement. We are a movement without an ideology, a movement that serves everyone and has a programme for everyone. To those political commentators who criticise us a ‘catch-all party’, I say this is a good thing.”
As reported by Radio Praha online, opinion polls show Babiš remains the most popular, trusted politician in parliament. The polls also suggest that ANO would win general elections if a vote were held today.
And all this, despite facing charges for European Union subsidy fraud, accusations of conflict of interest over his Agrofert business empire, and presiding over the first minority government to rely on Communist support since 1989, Slovak-born tycoon-turned-populist politician Andrej Babiš remains comfortably in power.
According to Radio Praha’s report, Babiš devoted a good part of his February 17 speech to arguing that the EU’s smaller members should have a bigger say on issues such as allocating the bloc’s budget – which he says is costing the Czech Republic “a huge amount of money” – and setting its migration policy.